Moderna to Begin Delivery; London Lockdown Ordered: Virus Update
A healthcare worker receives a Covid-19 vaccine in San Jose, U.S. (Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg)

Moderna to Begin Delivery; London Lockdown Ordered: Virus Update

Prime Minister Boris Johnson imposed a full lockdown on London and large parts of southeast England in a desperate attempt to stop a new strain of coronavirus that is spreading rapidly in the U.K. The nation surpassed 2 million total infections.

The newly-approved Moderna vaccine will begin distribution across the U.S. starting Sunday, after a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention panel recommended its use for people 18 and older.

Apple Inc. is temporarily closing all of its retail stores in California as the Covid-19 pandemic continues to surge across the state. New York state’s infections retreated from the record set Friday.

Key Developments:

  • Global Tracker: Cases pass 76 million; deaths top 1.6 million
  • Moderna shot cleared in U.S., ready for delivery starting Sunday
  • World looks to spring for virus relief as vaccinations start
  • Covid swamps Los Angeles as residents spurn fear and lockdowns
  • December is emerging as the U.S.’s worst month of the pandemic
  • Can I be required to get vaccinated?: QuickTake
  • Subscribe to a daily update on the virus from Bloomberg’s Prognosis team here. Click CVID
Moderna to Begin Delivery; London Lockdown Ordered: Virus Update

CDC Advisory Panel Votes to Recommend Moderna’s Covid-19 Vaccine (4:19 p.m. NY)

A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advisory panel voted Saturday to recommend Moderna Inc.’s coronavirus shot for people 18 and older, paving the way for the second Covid-19 vaccine to be administered in the U.S.

Members of the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices voted 11-0 to recommend the shot, with three abstaining because of conflicts of interest. The advisers cast the vote in an emergency meeting Saturday after the Food and Drug Administration authorized use of Moderna’s shot Friday.

New York State Cases Fall From Record (4:07 p.m. NY)

New York state reported 9,919 cases, the day after it set a record since the start of the pandemic of 12,697 new infections, Governor Andrew Cuomo said in statement. Hospitalizations and the positive-test rate fell slightly. The state reported more than 100 fatalities for the third consecutive day.

Apple Temporarily Shuts All California Stores (3:50 p.m. NY)

Apple Inc. is temporarily closing all of its retail stores in California as the Covid-19 pandemic continues to surge across the state.

The Cupertino, California, based technology company said on its website Saturday that it’s closing all 53 locations across the state. On Friday, the company said it would shut its stores in the Los Angeles area. The escalation of closures now covers stores including its major locations in the San Francisco Bay Area. Apple didn’t say when the stores would reopen.

Trump Uses London Lockdown to Promote His Stance (3:33 p.m. NY)

President Donald Trump seized on U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s announcement of a lockdown for London and surrounding areas to promote his anti-lockdown stance.

With a new coronavirus strain raising alarm in Britain, Johnson said a change of tactics was needed to avoid overwhelming hospitals and prevent “thousands” of additional deaths. In response, Trump tweeted: “The cure cannot be worse than the problem itself!”

California Cases Breach 1.8 Million (2:25 p.m. NY)

California added 43,608 new Covid-19 cases yesterday, surpassing the 1.8 million mark, while deaths climbed by 272 for a total of 22,432, according to the health department’s website. The number of intensive-care unit beds in the state rose by 50 to 1,284 despite an increase in hospital admissions of 433 to 17,398.

Los Angeles and its suburbs have become America’s worst-hit metro area. San Bernardino, Riverside and Los Angeles now rank one, two and three among big U.S. counties with the highest rates of virus cases per capita in the past week.

Moderna Vaccine Begins Shipping Sunday (2:10 p.m. NY)

United Parcel Services will truck the newly-approved Moderna vaccine beginning Sunday morning from Mckesson’s Kentucky facility to the courier’s nearby main U.S. air hub in Louisville, Kentucky. Flights will leave on Sunday to make deliveries beginning on Monday, said Wes Wheeler, chief of UPS’s healthcare unit in a telephone interview.

The Food and Drug Administration gave emergency-use approval to the Moderna vaccine on Friday night, a week after approving the Pfizer Inc./BioNTech SE shot.

FedEx, which like UPS delivered the first shipments of the Pfizer vaccine this week, said in a statement its “operations are in motion” to deliver the Moderna one.

The boxes containing the Moderna vaccine are lighter than Pfizer’s because they don’t contain the dry ice that’s needed to keep the Pfizer vaccine at ultra-cold temperatures, Wheeler from UPS said.

France’s New Cases Accelerate (1:43 p.m. NY)

France registered 17,565 new cases on Saturday, with the rolling seven-day average climbing for a fourth day to 13,605 cases, the highest in three weeks. The share of positive tests fell to 5.6% from 5.9% a day earlier. Deaths linked to the virus increased by 189 to 60,418, health authorities reported.

Israel PM Netanyahu Gets Vaccine (1:30 p.m. NY)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu received the coronavirus vaccine on Saturday, kicking off a drive to get the wider population inoculated.

He and Health Minister Yuli Edelstein received their shots in a hospital outside Tel Aviv. Netanyahu asked “everyone to join us and get vaccinated.”

Scotland Bans Travel to Rest of U.K. (1:25 p.m.)

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced a travel ban with the rest of the U.K., out of concern not to spread the new virus strain that led to a stricter lockdown around London earlier in the day.

“That means people from Scotland not visiting other parts of the U.K. and vice versa,” she said at a news conference in Edinburgh.

She also announced a new lockdown in Scotland starting Dec. 26, including the closing of all hospitality and non-essential stores. School children now will return in January in phases, she said.

Confusion Over Shot Supply Due to Miscommunication, Perna Says (12:15 p.m. NY)

The army general running the U.S. vaccine-distribution effort said that a lag between when shots are produced and when they are cleared for shipment led to widespread confusion over how many doses states will receive next week.

Gen. Gustave Perna, chief operations officer for Operation Warp Speed, the U.S. vaccine program, said he took “personal responsibility” for a miscommunication that led some states to complain that they were having their allocations reduced without explanation.

Arizona Deaths Exceed 100 Again (11:48 a.m. NY)

Arizona reported 118 new deaths, its fourth consecutive day with more than 100 fatalities. Infections and hospitalizations are trending higher, after the state contained a major outbreak this summer.

London Put in Emergency Lockdown as U.K. Fights New Virus Strain (11:37 a.m. NY)

Prime Minister Boris Johnson imposed a full lockdown on London and large parts of southeast England in a desperate attempt to stop a new strain of coronavirus that is spreading rapidly in the U.K.

After emergency talks with his most senior officials, Johnson canceled plans to ease pandemic restrictions for five days during the holiday. Household mixing will be banned in London and the south-east and socializing restricted to just Christmas Day across the rest of England.

The premier announced a new Tier 4 will apply in the hot-spot areas around the capital from Sunday, with all non-essential shops closing and millions of people ordered to stay at home.

The U.K. reported 27,052 new cases on Saturday, bringing the total to more than 2 million. The country reached 1 million cases on Oct. 31. Another 534 people died, 100 more than the weekly average.

Ontario Cases Remain at High Level (11:26 a.m. NY)

Ontario, Canada’s most populated province, registered 2,357 new Covid cases, the second highest daily record, the province said on its website. That compares with 2,290 cases Thursday and record 2,432 cases registered a day earlier. Ontario’s government said Friday it was tightening lockdown measures in five regions.

Canada is nearing 500,000 total confirmed cases, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg News.

Italy Deaths, Cases Slow (11:11 a.m. NY)

Italy saw the number of daily deaths from coronavirus decline to 553 on Saturday against 674 the previous day. There were 16,308 new cases against 17,992 on Friday.

The government voted late Friday to impose a “stop-and-go” lockdown from Dec. 24 to Jan. 6 to continue to limit the spread of coronavirus across the country. There will be strict restrictions on movement and restaurants and non-essential shops closed on and around Christmas, New Year’s and the Epiphany holiday on Jan. 6, and slightly looser curbs for Dec. 28-30 and Jan. 4.

Germany Secures 30 Million More BioNTech Vaccine Doses: Bild (9:30 a.m. NY)

Germany bought 30 million additional doses of the Covid-19 vaccine developed by BioNTech and Pfizer, Bild am Sonntag reported, citing sources at the German Ministry of Health. That allocation will bolster the 55.8 million doses that it will receive through a European Union plan, with a further 50.5 million doses of the Moderna Inc. due from the EU. Collectively, this will allow Germany will be able to achieve herd immunity in 2021, the Federal Ministry of Health told the paper.

U.S. Reports 260,663 New Cases, Just Shy of Record (7:30 a.m. NY)

The U.S. reported 260,663 new cases on Friday, just short of the record set on Monday, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg. The seven-day average number of cases rose to 230,929, 10% higher than the previous week’s daily average.

Another 2,889 people died, a daily dip after three consecutive days of fatalities over 3,000. Still the weekly average climbed to 2,591, 9% higher than the previous week’s daily average.

French President Macron Stable, Able to Work (7:25 a.m. NY)

French President Emmanuel Macron’s condition is stable, his office said in a statement on Saturday. He is tired but able to work.

Switzerland Approves Pfizer Shot (6:45 a.m. NY)

Switzerland authorized Pfizer Inc.’s and BioNTech SE’s Covid-19 vaccine, the first approved for use in the country. The nation had previously signed contracts with the companies for the delivery of three million vaccine doses. “Deliveries will start in 2020 and occur throughout 2021,” BioNTech said in a separate statement.

“The data available to date showed a comparable high level of efficacy in all investigated age groups, thus meeting the safety requirements,” drug regulator Swissmedic said in a statement Saturday. “The level of protection afforded seven days after the second injection is over 90% in adults.”

Iranian Infections Fall to Lowest in Eight Weeks (6:51 p.m. HK)

Iran’s daily infections fell to the lowest in eight weeks with 6,421 new cases since Friday, bringing the total case count to 1,152,072. The number of daily deaths fell for a fifth day to 175. The country has seen a sharp downward trend in its Covid-19 fatalities over the past three weeks, helped by two weeks of strict nationwide lockdown, after daily fatalities neared 500 in late November.

Polish Death Toll Increased by Most in Three Days (5:27 p.m. HK)

Poland, which announced tough new lockdown measures for the holiday season, reported 11,267 new coronavirus cases on Saturday, compared with 11,013 on Friday. The Health Ministry said the death toll increased by 483, the most in three days.

U.K. Could Approve Oxford Vaccine by Dec. 29, Telegraph Reports (5:09 p.m. HK)

The Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine is expected to be approved for use in the U.K. before the end of the year, the Telegraph reported, citing senior Whitehall sources. The Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Agency (MHRA) may authorize the vaccines on Dec. 28 or 29 after regulators receive final data on Monday. Football stadiums and other places in the country would then be opened from the first week of January for mass vaccinations.

The MHRA also “already started a rolling review to assess” Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine “to make sure it meets strict standards on safety, quality and effectiveness,” said Nadhim Zahawi, minister for Covid Vaccine Deployment, on Twitter. The country pre-ordered seven million doses for the U.K., he added.

Nigeria’s Largest City Shuts Schools (4:38 p.m. HK)

Lagos, Nigeria’s biggest city, has shut schools and ordered a ban on parties and large gatherings to stem a surge in coronavirus cases. The country recorded 77,013 cases, with 26,182 in Lagos, according to the Nigerian Centre for Disease and Control. On Friday, 287 new cases were reported in the city.

Germany’s Seven-Day Incidence Rate Ticks Higher (4:37 p.m. HK)

Germany’s seven-day incidence rate reached 189.6 per 100,000 inhabitants, above the previous 184 per 100,000 inhabitants, according to the RKI public health institute. Officials have said the rate needs to come down to 50 and stay there to allow effective contact tracing.

Germany recorded 32,830 new coronavirus cases through Saturday morning, according to to data from Johns Hopkins University. That’s higher than Friday but below the record 45,113 new cases on Thursday. Daily virus-related fatalities amounted to 727, after reaching a high of 910 on Wednesday.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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